Spot the dif­fer­ence park­ing fee makes

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRISTIE AN­DER­SON christie. an­der­son@ news. com. au

MO­TORISTS are giv­ing Townsville City Coun­cil’s new paid park­ing ar­eas the swerve, us­ing only about 20 per cent of car spa­ces each day.

Fig­ures re­leased by the coun­cil show 2710 park­ing tick­ets have been pur­chased across the 106 new paid car spa­ces on Jones St, Eyre St and Flin­ders St West since ticket machines were in­stalled in Jan­uary.

On av­er­age each day, 21 tick­ets are bought from ticket machines to park in the spa­ces that were con­verted from free to paid in the new year.

Mo­torists park­ing in the spa­ces with­out pay­ing for the ap­pro­pri­ate ticket are also be­ing stung with fines, with 100 in­fringe­ments is­sued.

Only a hand­ful of cars are now park­ing in the new paid spots, in stark com­par­i­son to free park­ing in shop­ping cen­tres such as Stock­land, which are packed with ve­hi­cles.

Trop­i­cal Queens­land Cat Clinic owner Dr Carl Ada­gra’s busi­ness is on Jones St, where park­ing spa­ces have been con­verted from free to paid.

He said de­spite some neg­a­tive feed­back from cus­tomers, the change had not had an es­pe­cially heavy im­pact on his busi­ness, but he had no­ticed the area had be­come qui­eter.

“We’ve had a few cus­tomers com­plain but we do of­fer to re­im­burse them if they are up­set,” he said.

“I think it’s more just the lo­gis­tics of hav­ing to park, then bring their cat into the clinic and then go back and pay. It’s a bit painful from that side of things.

“Look­ing out there now, it’s al­most com­pletely bare, with only two cars parked and one of them is ours.

“Pre­vi­ously peo­ple would have come up here and parked, then walked past dif­fer­ent busi­nesses.”

The ex­pan­sion of paid park­ing fol­lowed ef­forts by the coun­cil to re­vi­talise trade in the CBD.

Free two- hour park­ing was of­fered in the CBD dur­ing De­cem­ber to en­tice Christ­mas shop­pers into the CBD Va­cant paid park­ing spa­ces in the Townsville CBD ( be­low) con­trast with packed carparks in the sub­urbs ( top). IN­SET BE­LOW: Jones St vet­eri­nar­ian Dr Carl Ada­gra. and the move was hugely pop­u­lar with lo­cal busi­nesses.

Coun­cil plan­ning and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment di­rec­tor Eber Butron said reg­u­lated paid park­ing helped to en­sure there were va­cant car spa­ces near shops and busi­nesses.

“Reg­u­lat­ing paid park­ing in ar­eas close to busi­nesses and pro­vid­ing free park­ing op­tions for work­ers around the CBD is fun­da­men­tal to free­ing up bays close to shops to as­sist traders and their cus­tomers,” he said.

“Af­ter the ini­tial roll- out of paid park­ing in Flin­ders St West, the coun­cil made a few changes in re­sponse to feed­back from some of the busi­nesses in the area and that seems to have worked well.

“As with all park­ing in the CBD, the coun­cil will con­tinue to mon­i­tor how it is work­ing and take on board any feed­back we get.” Mr Butron said park­ing in Townsville was still the cheap­est in Queens­land at $ 1 an hour.

Townsville MP Scott Ste­wart said the free park­ing at Christ­mas was very suc­cess­ful and it was worth re- con­sid­er­ing park­ing charges due to tough eco­nomic times in Townsville.

“We all recog­nise and know that we have had a down­turn in our econ­omy over the last cou­ple of years and we need to be look­ing at ways that would en­cour­age peo­ple to buy lo­cal and come into the CBD to re­ac­ti­vate that area,” he said.

“If you think about the times we are strug­gling, maybe it’s time to re­think some of these things and they cer­tainly did that in the lead- up to Christ­mas with the free park­ing.”

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